Category Archives: Marijuana Legalization

Sociopolitical issues pertaining to marijuana legalization.

World Leaders Say Global War on Drugs Has Failed

Report of the Global Commission on Drug PolicyThe Global Commission on Drug Policy released its comprehensive report on the global drug war, and its effects on people and nations.  This group is comprised of former heads of state and several current and former world leaders such as George Schultz, Paul Volker, Kofi Annan, former Presidents of Mexico, Columbia, Brazil, and Switzerland, and many other former and present top government officials and business leaders.  This report plainly states, “The global war on drugs has failed, with devastating consequences for individuals and societies around the world.”

The report recommends experimentation with drug legalization programs designed to undermine the power of organized crime, and to end, “the criminalization, marginalization and stigmatization of people who use drugs but who do no harm to others.”  The executive summary at the beginning of the report linked above quickly provides the headline information you need for a basic understanding of the commission’s findings.  Additionally, click NPR and CNN International for their articles on this report.

This report shows agreement with many points I’ve made for years.  For example, over the past 4 years, more than 40,000 people were murdered in drug cartel related violence in Mexico alone.  Thousands of lives are taken each year in drug related violence in the U.S. as well.  Many people losing their lives aren’t even related to drug trade.  Of the illegal drugs with overdose potential, more users suffer or die from complications from impurities than from the actual drug.  Also, problems occur when someone receives a purer drug than expected so they administer a larger dose than they wanted or more than they might survive.  Basically, the vast majority of people suffering drug related deaths die because of organized crime and drug enforcement violence, not from drug use.

The drug war also affects everyday lives of many other innocent people.  Children suffer when their parent(s) are arrested for possession, low end distribution, or growing personal amounts of cannabis.  Not only do these children lose their parents for some period of time, when parents are released from prison, they have a brutal time finding employment.  They can’t afford enough food, maybe lose their homes or ability to pay for an apartment, and these stresses wreak havoc on the children at school and throughout their lives.  Their parent’s choices are not their problems.

Drug use and distribution is a choice.  Arguably, some drug use helps people be successful in their lives just like taking medications they could be prescribed, or the couple beers that help them relax after a ragged day.  Many people believe if they don’t participate in what they truly believe in, then laws never change, and pain and suffering continue in this way forever.  So, despite the dangers, they use or trade in drugs.  For others, it’s purely financial, and they’ll do whatever they can to protect the financial gains they reap from the drug trade.  These people even vote against legalization.

Thomas Jefferson once said, “If people let government decide what foods to eat and what medicines to take, their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.”  Many conservatives tell us they strive to lead the government according to our constitution and in the way our founding fathers intended, yet, they don’t actually read what these founding fathers wrote.  Conservatives say they’re for small government to keep government out of our lives, yet they only mean that for themselves and their ilke.  However, many of them are caught doing exactly what they say not to do.  Basically, people like them, enjoy putting people down to make themselves look good, but most of them are no better than the people they continue to throw in jail.

It’s time to let people’s actions in our communities show who they are, and not judge them for what they do at home.


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Filed under American Corrections System, American Government & Institutions (state & federal), Drugs & Alcohol, Individual Rights & Equality, Marijuana Legalization

More Calling to End War on Drugs

This entry cites the following recent articles & videos:

  1. New York Times – Peru Coca Production
  2. Detroit Metro Times – Roots of the Fiasco
  3. New York Times – DEA Unsure Who Is Who
  4. New York Times – Mexican Drug Trafficking Violence
  5. CNN – Former Surgeon General Calls to Legalize Pot
  6. CNN via YouTube – Former Mexican President Says Open Discussion on Legalization of Marijuana
  7. Huffington Post – Cops Pressured to Deny Legalization Support
  8. Houston Chronical – Waging War Against War on Drugs (this is a well written opinion piece)

All these articles have good information.  Even information in the opinion article is supported by other articles.  Of these eight, I’d suggest reading #1, 4, 7, and 8 to get the most rounded set of information, and I’d put an emphasis on #7.

I’ve read similar articles about the widespread support of LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) by police & judges.  As mentioned in that article, most law enforcement and judges can’t voice their opinion to legalize drugs until the day they retire.

The flip-side of this coin is the large number of people comfortably settled into their drug business that they vote against legalization.  Several states have supported medical marijuana, but that is in part because illegal producers can still make a profit through that service, but at reduced risk.  However, if marijuana were made fully legal, their profits would plummet.  Additionally, virtually none of the thousands of tons of marijuana coming in from Mexico show up in medical dispensaries so most people involved in that trade will vote against legalization.  This amounts to 10s of billions of tax-free dollars going to individuals, and often out of the country.

I’ve briefly stated what we’re losing in tax revenue on pot alone; now let’s look at the costs.  Article 8 tells us the easily accountable taxes spent on the drug war by the U.S. are about $50 billion a year.  Add that to the money spent by all the other governments we push to battle suppliers of our consumption.

For this discussion, I want to focus only on the legalization of marijuana even though, for many reasons, I agree with a growing number of people that all drugs should be legal.  Prohibition didn’t work for alcohol, violent crime greatly increased, and that is no different than we see in today’s situation.

Many of you might recall the government funded researcher who developed all kinds of study results pointing to the poor effects of marijuana and other drugs recanted all of his studies 3-4 years ago.  This was reported by all the major news sources.  After years of chiding by his peers at other labs for his scientific methods designed to get those results, he finally put together a large, long-term, federally funded study to look at the long-term effects of marijuana.  He found the marijuana using group showed no decrease in memory or increases in other negative health issues over the non-using group.  In fact, he found a slightly statistical decrease in cancer rates among marijuana users over the non-users, and those with cancer had better outcomes.  No government funded studies touting marijuana’s negative effects have come out since that time.

Marijuana and other drug enforcement takes desperately needed time & resources from deterring and investigating violent crimes.  Also, people convicted of violent crimes get out of prison sooner to make way for drug offenders.  Unfortunately, many of these violent criminals leave prison only to commit more violent crimes.

Prison overcrowding has led to the end of all mental therapeutic and other rehabilitation programs in most California prisons.  Other states are facing growing problems as well.  This means the violent robbers, rapists, and murders we sent to prison for rehabilitation and education get none at all, and they return to society more frustrated than ever, and with even less opportunities than before.

One final note on this issue is with the prison gymnasiums turned into high-occupancy bunk rooms, pent-up energy and stress has led to a drastic increase in prison riots and deaths.  We all know that some innocent people are in prison.  What if you or your child becomes one of those people killed in a prison riot for a crime committed by someone else?

By legalizing marijuana, large amounts of money and other resources become free to battle other violent crime, and taxes raised from its production and sale can go toward schools and other programs that might further reduce interest in its use.  Studies show most Americans now agree that marijuana is likely less damaging than alcohol, and as more states approve marijuana for medical use, it’s clear most people realize it has some positive utility.  Many people say the end of prohibition provided fuel that aided recovery from the Great Depression; maybe this is a good time for marijuana to help the current recovery effort as well.

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Filed under Drugs & Alcohol, Government Taxes, Spending, and Deficits, Marijuana Legalization